People Who Act Like Students but aren't - Student Research Foundation

Colleges Deal with Young People Who Act Like Students, But Aren’t

“College Dropout Refuses to Leave Her Dorm Room,” an article that Julie Marsh and Ruthie Weissman published in The New York Post on Feb. 28th, tells the story of Lisa S. Palmer, a student who reportedly dropped out of Hunter College two years ago, but refuses to vacate her dorm room. The article reports that Ms. Palmer, who is 32 years of age, has now run up $94,000 in unpaid resident fees. The school is having a hard time cooking up a legal strategy for ousting her. From her side of the dispute, Ms. Palmer claims that she has a right to occupy the room because the school, due to some mix-up, refused to let her re-register back in 2016. So she is just going to stay there.

Why would anyone live on a campus without actually being a student? We don’t know, but the practice is nothing new. Remember Abe Liu, a 27-year-old man who pretended to be a Harvard student in 2011, despite the fact that he was never admitted? He reportedly slept in common rooms, made friends with Harvard students and sometimes slept in their rooms, ate in Harvard dining halls, liked going to parties, and enjoyed college life until he was escorted from campus. You can read about it in “Abe Liu, Fake Harvard Student, Outed by Campus Newspapers,” an article that Alana Horowitz wrote on Huffington Post. Mr. Liu said he did it because he was “lonely.”

Is It a Good Idea to Go to College without Enrolling?

Of course that is a ridiculous question. But the stories of Ms. Palmer and Mr. Liu makes you wonder.

If you go to college without matriculating, you eliminate lots of inconvenient and expensive requirements, like . . .

  • Taking expensive standardize tests
  • Applying and paying application fees
  • Paying tuition and student fees
  • Attending classes
  • Studying, writing papers and taking exams

When you look at it that way, you start to think that Ms. Palmer and Mr. Liu might be onto something.

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